Mathematics is called the only "true science", boxing is called the "sweet science", but sports drafts are an INEXACT SCIENCE. With the NFL Draft coming up in a few weeks, I wanted to make all 32 teams aware of potential dangers in the draft. A first round pick is a multi-million dollar investment. When those investments fail, people lose their jobs (Coaches, GMs, etc.). So take a look at my NFL Draft Bust All-Pro Team and learn a lesson from these guys who fell flat on their face (or another part of their anatomy) in the NFL:
Quarterback: Ryan Leaf - Was their any other selection than Leaf? This guy completed more profanities than touchdown passes. The Colts came very close to picking Leaf over Peyton Manning. And while Leaf flamed out with the Chargers, Buccaneers, and Cowboys (they'll sign ANYBODY), Mel Kiper Jr. was making his bust for the Hall of Fame. Ummm...not so much Mel. Honorable Mention: Heath Shuler, Akili Smith, Jim Drunkenmiller, Andre Ware, Tim Couch
Halfback: Lawrence Phillips - Phillips wasn't a bust because he lacked talent. Unfortunately for him, he enjoyed hitting women, children and teenagers more than hitting the holes the offensive line opened for him. But fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers should love this guy, because when the Rams took him 6th overall in the 1996 Draft, they traded some guy they had sitting around on the roster named Jerome Bettis. The rest is history. San Francisco 49ers fans should hate him. He missed a crucial block on Arizona Cardinals CB Aeneas Williams, whou proceeded to lay a hit on franchise icon Steve Young that essentially ended his career.
Halfback: Ki-Jana Carter - I hope Ki-Jana Carter doesn't read this, because it just might injure him. He's on my Bust All-Pro team simply because he was the #1 overall pick, and a halfback taken #1 overall should produce more than just 1,144 rushing yards FOR HIS CAREER. Talk about bad karma - on his third career carry he blew out his ACL and seemed to have never been able to recover.
Honorable Mention: Curtis Enis, Blair Thomas
Wide Receiver: Charles Rogers - Mel Kiper Jr was interrupted booking his flight for Canton for Charles Rogers' Hall of Fame induction by Charles Rogers severely sucking. When Rogers wasn't breaking his collarbone, he was running horribe routes and dropping passes. He's just one of many gems selected by the great Matt Millen. Who could Matt Millen have taken at WR instead of the terrible, criminalistic Charles Rogers. "With the third pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select Andre Johnson, wide receiver from the University of Miami." I digress.
Wide Receiver: Mike Williams - Yet another player that both Matt Millen & Mel Kiper Jr. were in love with. Even after not playing football for a year and beingout of shape, the Detroit Lions selected him with the 10th pick of the 2005 draft (learning nothing from the Charles Rogers experience). Plagued by the drops, bad route running, lack of conditioning, and just plain sucking, Mike Williams accumulated 44 catches for 539 yards and a pair of touchdowns for his career. (which is a decent month for Randy Moss). The next three picks in that draft have become All-Pros - DeMarcus Ware, Shawne Merriman, & Jammal Brown. Honorable Mention: Peter Warrick, Michael Westbrook
Tight End: Irv Smith – Part of me wanted to go with Derek Brown or David LaFleur or maybe even Vernon Davis, but as a Saints fan, I had a bird’s eye view of this bust. In the 1993 Draft, the Saints had two first round picks, #8 and #20. The #8 pick is pretty much a lock for Canton (Willie Roaf). The #20 pick – not so much. Irv Smith played four seasons in New Orleans, but never became the game changing tight end they were expecting when they drafted him in the first round (The search for a game changing tight end continues, even with that Shockey fellow on the roster). In the sixth round of the very same draft, a game changing tight end was selected – by the Houston Oilers – Frank Wychek. Wychek would have a productive career with the Oilers/Titans franchise and was in on the “Music City Miracle”. Imagine how much more interesting the “River City Relay” would have been with Wychek. Honorable Mention: Vernon Davis, Derek Brown
Offensive Line: Tony Mandarich – Sports Illustrated were just a couple of letters off when they dubbed Mandarich as the “Incredible Bulk”. He turned out to be an incredible bust. He never had what it took to be an NFL offensive tackle but had a semi-decent career as a guard with the Indianapolis Colts (Kinda reminds me of Robert Gallery). Green Bay Packers fans probably have had many sleepless nights over the next pick in the ’89 draft – Oklahoma State halfback Barry Sanders – who Is enshrined in Canton. Could you imagine a backfield of Brett Favre & Barry Sanders? Well, all we can do is imagine.
Offensive Line: Mike Williams – If I have hopes and dreams of becoming an NFL star, and my name happens to be Mike Williams, I’m gonna pull a Chad Johnson and get my name legally changed. Mike Williams was a dominant tackle at the University of Texas. The only thing Williams dominated in the pros was the ability to suck and the ability to get injured. After it (finally) became obvious to the Buffalo Bills that he couldn’t cut it at tackle, they bumped him inside to guard, which was tragically worse. Buffalo cut him in 2005 and he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he did essentially nothing. Forget the Madden Curse, there’s a serious Mike Williams curse going on. And for the Bills fans hoping that they address the need of defensive end/pass rusher in the draft, think about this – You could have had Dwight Freeny (selected 11th overall).
Offensive Line: Aaron Gibson: I watched this guy when he was at Wisconsin. He didn’t seem all that great to me. He seemed to depend on his size more than his ability, which is easy to do when you’re 6’6” 375. To the surprise of the Detroit Lions, Aaron Gibson played like a man who was out of shape and overweight (didn’t see that one coming). Also to their surprise he was injury prone. Three suck-tacular seasons, the Lions released him. He resurfaced with the Cowboys (told you they sign ANYBODY) and Bears. Gibson ended up with the Austin Wranglers. The next two picks sucked even more than he did (Andy Katzenmoyer and Dimitrius Underwood), So Lions fans can take some consolation there.
Offensive Line: Andre Johnson: Just think of where the Redskins would be if the drafted Andre Johnson. In case you didn’t know, they did. No, not THAT Andre Johnson, the offensive tackle from Penn State, drafted #30 in the 1996 draft.. Johnson was so great that the Redskins had him inactive for the entire 1996 season. During the offseason he was cut. He made appearances with the Dolphins and Lions before being out of the league by 1998. If they wanted to mess their franchise up, they could have just drafted T.O., who was selected #89 by the San Francisco 49ers.
Offensive Line: Trezelle Jenkins: Trezelle Jenkins maybe even a bigger bust than Ryan Leaf. Jenkins was drafted #31 by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1995 Draft. He played in a whopping nine games in three years as a Chief, before spending time on the preseason rosters of the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings. Why do I say he may be a bigger bust than Ryan Leaf? The San Francisco Demons of the XFL drafted Jenkins in 2000, but said “thanks, but no thanks” and cut him. Not even Leaf was rejected by the XFL. Chiefs fans shouldn’t be to upset with this. Eighteen picks later, Barrett Robins was drafted by their AFC West rival Oakland Raiders. I think they’d rather have someone who sucks instead of someone who’s a psycho. Honorable Mention: Kwame Harris,
Placekicker: Russell Erxleben: Sadly, I’ve been around for the majority of the New Orleans Saints draft screw ups (Jonathan Sullivan, Irv Smith, Ricky Williams), but fortunately the biggest draft dud in Saints history took place one year before my birth in 1979. With the 11th pick in the draft, the Saints selected Russell Erxleben, A PLACEKICKER! The logic (and I use that word VERY loosely) was that Erxleben could punt and kick as he did in college, saving them that all important ONE roster spot. In his first game, he couldn’t handle a snap to punt and threw a pass, that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. The Saints finished one game behind the Rams that year in the division. The Rams made the Super Bowl that year, so who knows, right? Erxleben played in the NFL for 10 years, mainly as a punter. You should NEVER draft a PUNTER with the 11th pick. NEVER. Two picks later, Kellen Winslow was drafted (the original KW, not the f&%kin soldier). He was a game changing tight end who is now enshrined in Canton. The search continues.
Be wary NFL teams. Your draft pick can cost jobs, millions of dollars, or in some cases, cause your rivals to succeed. Be very careful April 25. If you're thinking about drafting defense, keep your eyes opened. Next will be the Draft Bust All-Pro Defensive Team.